Last Updated on April 10, 2020 by Augustin Fernandes
We have compiled a list of useful and helpful tips which might help in making your trip an everlasting memory of a lifetime. These tips are catagorised in four parts Travel tips for First time Visitors, Travel Tips for visiting Goa in the Monsoons, General Travel Tips and Things to Carry while traveling to Goa
Goa Travel Tips for First time Visitors
1. Try the less popular beaches instead
Goa having a massive coastline spanning over 105 kilometers (65.2 miles), is of course packed with an endless number of beaches. Baga, Vagator, Candolim and Calangute are some of the most popular beaches and hence making them a lot more crowded as well.
Goa is filled with plenty of unspoiled and unexplored beaches as well, where you can relax in peace and solitude. Some of them include Kakolem beach, Galgibaga, Hollant Beach, Velsao, Ashwem beach, Mobar beach and Butterfly beach (in the south).
These beaches are much more pleasant for a relaxing vacation away from the noise.
2. Be careful and ensure safety while visiting the beaches
Even though the beaches are the topmost attractions of Goa, they also pose a few risks. The most common are sunburn and sunstroke.
So, to avoid these risks, apply high sunscreen all over the body for extra protection, do your sunbathing in small increments, and carry sunglasses and hat.
Some of the beaches in North Goa have strong rip currents, especially during monsoons. Such area of beaches are marked with red flags, which mean that swimming in these areas can be dangerous. So, don’t go into the sea without consulting the lifeguards.
3. Indulge in the Goan Cuisine
You probably have tried different kinds of foods wherever you have visited. So why not give the delicious Goan Cuisine a try! On your trip to Goa, do savor the Goan cuisine Goan fish curry, pork vindaloo, bebinca (Goan dessert), sorpotel, etc.
Do not leave without trying the local liqueur, Feni, a spirit made of coconut or cashew nuts is one of the best Samples of this local specialty. Try small quantities as it is a strong liquor.
4. Hire bike instead of a car while exploring Goa
The best way to see the nooks and corners of every part of Goa is on a bike or scooter. The roads in the Goa are well-maintained and safe, making biking more fun! Seeing Goa in a bike will help you discover the tiny areas of Goa filled with adventure.
Bikes are easy and cheap to rent, at around INR 250 ($3.83) to INR 800 ($12.27) per day, depending upon the season and type of bike. However, rates can drop considerably if you’re renting for more days. Before finalizing a motorcycle, do take it for a test run – check if it is in good condition, brakes are functional, etc.
Always carry your driving permit with you. Helmets are mandatory, so make sure to get one along with your bike (included in your daily rent).
5. Don’t just stick to the beach and sand
While many visitors come to Goa to spend time at the beaches, there is much more to Goa than that! There’s lots more to see and do here like visiting the century-old churches and temples, museums, forts, spice plantations, caves, wildlife sanctuaries, and more. Here’s our list of things to do and see in Goa that will help you plan a complete holiday to Goa.
Also, Goa is home to a truly spectacular countryside filled with greenery and wildlife that is worth taking time to explore. Goan villages dotted with old Portuguese-style houses, lush paddy fields, spice plantations, waterfalls and quaint environment can be found in the countryside.
6. Take part in several adventure and fun activities
Go scuba diving, jet-skiing, kayaking, windsurfing, parasailing, banana ride, power-scooter riding, knee-wake boarding etc.
You can take some yoga experiences from one of the many yoga retreats available up and down the coast. Goa is a perfect spot for watersport do not leave without ticking a few of them off the list.
7. Book your accommodation in advance
There are plenty of backpacker hostels and hotels (both budget and luxury) in Goa.
It is better to book them in advance as they may get full, especially during the long weekends and winter months, where things can get more crowded and expensive.
Booking in advance will help you to plan your holiday well and check out what you can see around your hotel.
Goa Travel Tips for Monsoons
8. Be Prepared for heavy rains
Monsoon in Goa is probably one of the largest monsoons in India with heavy rainfall continuously for 4 months from June to Sept. The heavy rains indeed will drench you if you are not protected.
While visiting Goa, make sure you have sufficient rainwear. That is, carry some rain shoes, an umbrella as well as raincoats for going for a beautiful monsoon ride!
Biking in the monsoons in Goa is fun, but only if you carry sufficient rainwear. Also, make sure to take odomos or mosquito repellent as there are a lot more mosquitoes during the monsoons.
9. Visit Waterfalls during the Monsoons
There is no better occasion to visit the Dudhsagar Waterfalls or other waterfalls such as the Aravali waterfall during the rainy season.
The monsoon season makes the waterfall blossom and shows its true beauty. Every waterfall in Goa looks ten times better when visited during the monsoons!
10. Visit Goa Wildlife Sanctuaries in the monsoon
The wildlife sanctuaries are the best places to visit in Goa in monsoon. Unlike other places, the reserves here are open throughout the year and to witness fresh, green and pristine milieu washed in the rain is an experience you just can’t miss.
Some of Goa’s popular wildlife sanctuaries include Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, The Bhagwan Mahavir Sanctuary, Mollem National Park and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary.
11. Visit Spice Plantations in Goa during the monsoons
If you are looking for something different and fun to do in Goa in monsoon season, then the spice plantations are the perfect place to visit.
The Savoi spice plantation is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Goa during the monsoon that can be reached through a serene drive along the verdant valley and tropical forests.
This is an offbeat place to visit if you have explored most of the touristy places in Goa during monsoon season.
12. Be prepared for Sao Joao!
Monsoon in Goa brings joy of many festivities. The most well known is the fertility feast of Sao Joao or St.John the Baptist. This feast is celebrated on the 24th of June.
This feast is very popular for Goans as well as tourists! So if you come during the monsoons, then you must come during the Sao Joao period to get the real monsoon feel.
The festival of St Peter is also a popular monsoon festival here in July that’s celebrated by erecting floating stages in the rivers and various cultural programs.
While in August, Divar island gets ready for the famous Bonderam Festival. The festival begins with a vibrant parade with multicolored flags, and the entire island comes alive with performances by famous local bands.
13. Cheaper travel and stay
Not just the flight tickets or bus tickets are cheap, even the hotels and other stay options are less expensive in Goa during monsoons. As the crowd would be less and the rooms would be cheaper.
It would be a great idea to go for luxury stay options too, as you can get really good deals at budget rates at this time. Visiting Goa during the monsoons is therefore much more reasonable and budget-friendly.
14. Stay Away from the Sea
There are many reasons one should visit Goa during the monsoons, however swimming in the sea is not one of them.
During the monsoons, the sea and tides get pretty rough and hence staying away from the sea is much advisable during the monsoons.
General Travel Tips for visiting Goa
Image from Pixabay
15. Respect Holy Places and the Goan Culture
There are a lot of historical and Holy places in Goa. While visiting these places of worship, one must respect the place and space. Always remove your footwear before entering any Holy place.
When visiting Churches, Museums and Temples kindly switch off or keep silent your cell phones. Dress appropriately at all the holy places you visit in Goa.
16. Carry Important Documents
Traveling with essential documents such as Passport, driving license, visa, etc. ensure that they are kept safe in your hotel lockers. You should instead carry attested copies of your Passport, driving license, visa while traveling.
17. Care for your Money
Carry plastic money as they are more convenient or you may also carry traveler cheque as they are readily exchangeable in most locations. Don’t leave any valuables or cash in your hotel room.
Check all your hotel and restaurant bills for any errors. Do not flash large sums of money or jewelry in public. If you are a foreign national, don’t exchange currancy in the open market.
Always get a receipt when changing money at authorized money exchanging center.
There are many places such as museums where photography are restricted so before flashing your camera just lookout for signs saying “Photography Restricted”.
It is advised while visiting the Churches, Caves and Temples take a photo of a signboard with the name of that place, as it would be hard to remember later when you reach back home.
If signboards are saying “No Flash”, make sure to use a camera without it. Charge your camera batteries every night.
19. Mind What You Eat
One of the great joys while traveling in India is eating street food. But if you have not used to spicy food, don’t indulge in it. Food in Goa is not just limited to the Goan variety.
In many places, you may find most of the famous International cuisine such as Continental, Chinese, Thai, Mexican and even Portuguese dishes on the menu.
Fresh seafood items like King fish, red and black snapper, squid, tuna, oysters, shellfish, crab, lobster, tiger prawns, black and white pomfet etc. are some of the tastiest food dishes you would like to enjoy.
20. No to Drugs and Other Illegal Activities
Possession and trade of drugs are illegal in Goa, India so stay away from it. There are penalties in India and no bail for any drug offense.
You may fall in deep trouble if caught trading in animal skins, fur, or any other illegal items. These require a legitimate sale certificate or export permission before leaving the country.
21. Road Rules
Carry your driving license, in case you are planning to hire a motorcycle to drive. While driving, don’t break any traffic rules. Do not drink and drive.
If you are from foreign nation, International Driving License is required to drive. Traffic circulation in India is on the left side.
Things to Carry while traveling to Goa
- Water Bottles
- Lip Balm
- Hat or Cap
- Cotton Tees and Shorts
- First Aid Kid
- Hand Sanitizer
- Crocs footwear
- Power Bank
Enjoyed these Goa travel tips? So share with a friends. If you live in Goa or have visited it a few times, write your own tip in the comments.